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CAN FROILAN SALUDAR STILL BECOME A WORLD CHAMPION?

By Dong Secuya
PhilBoxing.com
30 May 2017


Froilan Saludar.

Froilan Saludar, of Polomolok, South Cotabato, was once touted as the next big thing in Philippine boxing. And for good reasons.

Since his professional debut in 2009, Saludar started his career in blitzing fashion. The first five years earned him an undefeated record in 20 fights (19 wins-1 draw, 12 KOs). With his vaunted power and pinpoint accuracy and with a rich amateur background, he was at the cream of the crop in the flyweight division. At that time, he had already won the WBO Asia-Pacific Youth flyweight title, the WBO Youth flyweight title and the WBO Inter-Continental title.

Then, his first big test came. On June 19, 2014, Saludar was pitted against Puerto Rican McWilliams Arroyo in an IBF world title eliminator at Arroyo’s home country. A win would lead to a mandatory challenge against the then IBF world flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand. Record-wise, he was better than Arroyo who had 14 wins and 1 loss when they fought. To have a good preparation for the fight, Saludar went to Oakland, California to train at Dodong Donaire's Gym. While in Oakland, Saludar went to visit the gym of Virgil Hunter where he sparred with multi-world champion Abner Mares of Mexico.

During the actual fight at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Saludar showed his superiority over the former Beijing Olympian early. He outboxed Arroyo, who also won the gold medal at flyweight during the 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Milan, and was off to a wonderful start. Then Saludar became complacent. His complacency gave Arroyo the opportunity to land a vicious left hook to the chin sending Saludar to the seat of his pants. It was good night for the Filipino and all his world title dreams disappeared.

After that defeat, those who had high hopes for him during the first 20 fights had doubts as to the heart and toughness of the Polomolok, North Cotabato native.

Since that defeat, Saludar only fought 6 times in 3 years in fights against lackluster opposition. His best opponent of the 6 fights was a 20 year old Japanese prospect by the name of Takuma Inoue who was undefeated in 7 fights in a battle at Inoue’s backyard in September last year. Saludar was again dazzling in the first round sending Inoue to the canvas stunning the Japanese crowd. Then, after Inoue survived the early onslaught, Saludar faded in the later rounds losing a lopsided unanimous decision thereby absorbing his second career defeat.

At age 28 and with a still formidable 24-wins, 2-losses, 1-draw record, Saludar and his promoter are not about to call it quits.

On June 10, 2017, Saludar’s promoter Championship Boxing Development of the Philippines (CBDP) headed by the youthful Kenneth Rontal, organized a gutsy promotion outside his home base of Cagayan de Oro and into the Philippines’ boxing mecca, Cebu City. Saludar will not only fight on the road again, he will also face an equally formidable opponent in Salatiel Amit (10-2-2, 7KOs) of the famed Omega Gym. Saludar will be facing a strange situation wherein his promoter is promoting an event for him to fight a Cebu-based fighter in Cebu. It is well-known among boxing aficionados that the Omega Gym produces quality fighters and has an excellent conditioning program which makes their fighters maintain their strength and condition up to the last second of a long, grueling battle. Salatiel Amit is not an exception. He is another prospect from Omega who has the potential of making it big.

The Froilan Saludar vs. Salatiel Amit flyweight 10-round match is a crossroads fight. The winner is back on track to be world rated and would probably be on his way to a world title fight in the near future. The loser will be relegated to the so-called B-side in the Philippine boxing scene.

Can Froilan Saludar become a world champion? Probably, if he beats Amit. No, if he loses against the Omega Gym fighter.


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